How to Fix the “Failed to Load steamui.dll” Fatal Error in Steam for Windows?

How to Fix the “Failed to Load steamui.dll” Fatal Error in Steam for Windows

Experiencing the “Failed to Load steamui.dll” Fatal Error in Steam can be a real headache for any gaming enthusiast. 

It’s an error message that typically pops up when you attempt to launch / open Steam client on Windows, indicating there is an issue with a specific dynamic link library file – steamui.dll.

This file plays a crucial role in running program operations smoothly and effectively within the system.

When this error manifests itself, it signals that this critical .dll file has either gone missing or is corrupted, hampering the normal function of the application.

This doesn’t just disrupt your gaming sessions but may also compromise the overall performance of Steam if not addressed promptly and correctly.

What causes the “Failed to Load steamui.dll” error?

Several factors can trigger the “Failed to Load steamui.dll” error in Steam.

One primary cause is corruption or misplacement of the necessary DLL files, specifically steamui.dll and libswscale-x.dll.

If these critical files are damaged or missing from their designated locations, it causes massive disruption while accessing Steam services.

Consequently, users encounter this notorious error.

Another common cause lies within your active participation in the Steam Beta program. Using beta versions potentially exposes you to unfinished software updates that might be unstable and prone to errors like “Failed to Load steamui.dll”.

Let’s not overlook other possible culprits like virus/malware interference, outdated device drivers, hard drive issues and certain Windows files going AWOL.

Steps to fix:

1. Restart the Steam Client

We suggest kicking off with a simple yet effective method – restarting your Steam client.

This action works similarly to rebooting a computer and often resolves minor glitches hiding beneath the surface.

To restart your Steam Client, all you need is first to close it completely. It’s not just about clicking on the ‘x’ at the top right corner of your window; this only minimizes but does not terminate it.

To fully close Steam, locate its icon in your system tray (usually found at the bottom right corner of your screen), right-click on it, and then choose Exit from the options that pop up.

Moving forward, reopen your Steam application as normal.

If exiting this way doesn’t work or you don’t see an option for ‘Exit’, don’t fret!

You can use Task Manager as well – simply press Ctrl + Alt + Del keys simultaneously, select Task Manager from the options displayed, and scroll down until you find ‘Steam Client Bootstrapper’ or any process with ‘Steam’ in their names under Processes tab and click End task button.

Restart your PC and run Steam again. From my experience, this can fix Steam Download speed issues.

2. Clear Steam File Download Cache

This can help fix any issues caused by corrupt or inaccessible caches.

Here are the steps to clear Steam’s download cache:

  1. Open the Steam client on your computer.
  2. Click on the “Steam” menu at the top left corner of the client.
  3. Select “Settings” from the drop-down menu.
  4. In the Settings window, go to the “Downloads” tab.
  5. Click on the “Clear Download Cache” button.
  6. A confirmation prompt will appear, click “OK” to proceed with clearing the cache.
  7. Wait for Steam to clear the download cache, which may take a few moments depending on your system and internet speed.
  8. Once the process is complete, restart Steam and check if the error is resolved.

3. Reset Steam Configuration Settings

This can help resolve any underlying issues that may be causing the error.

Here are the steps to reset the Steam configuration settings:

  1. Close the Steam client completely.
  2. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  3. Type “%appdata%” (without quotes) in the Run dialog box and hit Enter. This will take you to the AppData folder.
  4. Locate and open the ” Steam ” folder within the AppData folder.
  5. Inside the Steam folder, delete all files and folders except for Steam.exe and the “steamapps” folder, which contains your game installations.
  6. Once you’ve deleted these files, restart your computer.
  7. Launch Steam from its desktop shortcut or Start menu, after restarting

4. Uninstall Steam. Reinstall it.

This can help resolve any issues or conflicts with the installation files. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Control Panel on your Windows computer.
  2. Navigate to “Programs” or “Programs and Features.”
  3. Locate Steam in the list of installed programs.
  4. Right – click on Steam and select “Uninstall” or “Uninstall/Change.”
  5. Follow the on – screen prompts to complete the uninstallation process.
  6. Once Steam is successfully uninstalled, visit the official Steam website ( to download the latest version of the client.
  7. Click on the “Install Steam” button to start downloading the installer file.
  8. Run the installer file and follow the instructions to install Steam on your computer.

5. Delete the SteamUI. dll and libswscale-x. dll Files

You can follow these steps:

  • Delete the SteamUI.dll and libswscale – x.dll files manually.
  • Restart the Steam client to ensure all changes take effect.

6. Delete the Beta File From Steam Directory

This file may cause conflicts and prevent Steam from functioning properly. Here’s how you can remove it:

  • Locate the Steam directory on your computer. Usually, it can be found in the C: \Program Files (x86)\Steam\ directory.
  • Open the Steam folder and look for a file named “beta”. This file is related to the beta version of Steam.
  • Right-click on the “beta” file and select “Delete” from the menu that appears.
  • Confirm the deletion when prompted.

7. Check for Malware

It’s possible that your system could’ve been infected with malware.

To resolve this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Perform a thorough scan for malware using an antivirus program like Windows Defender.
  2. Ensure your antivirus software is current and has the latest virus definitions.
  3. Run a full system scan to detect and remove any malicious files that could be causing the error.
  4. Quarantine or delete any identified malware to prevent further damage to your system.

8. Perform an SFC / Chkdsk scan

To perform a System File Checker Scan, follow these steps:

  • Press the Windows key + X on your keyboard to open the Power User menu.
  • Select Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin) from the list.
  • In the Command Prompt or PowerShell window, type “sfc /scannow” and press Enter.
  • The System File Checker will now scan your system for any corrupted Windows files and automatically replace them with cached copies from a specifically designated folder.

To perform a chkdsk:

  1. Open the command prompt as an administrator.
  2. Type “chkdsk C: /f” and press Enter. Replace “C:” with the drive letter of the partition where you’re encountering the error.
  3. You’ll see a message asking if you want to schedule a disk check for the next system restart. Type “Y” for yes and press Enter.
  4. Restart your computer for the disk check to run.

9. Restore the Missing Steamui. dll File

Here are the steps to restore the missing steamui.dll file:

  1. Close the Steam client if it is running.
  2. Open your File Explorer and navigate to the Steam installation directory, which is usually located in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam” or “C:\Program Files\Steam”.
  3. Once you’re in the Steam installation directory, locate the folder named “bin” and open it.
  4. Look for a file named “steamui.dll” in the “bin” folder.
  5. Right – click on the “steamui.dll” file and select “Cut”.
  6. Navigate one level up to the main Steam installation directory and paste the “steamui.dll” file there.
  7. Launch Steam again and check if the error has been resolved.

10. Update Your Device Driver or Roll Back Driver to the Previously Installed Version

You can try updating your device driver or rolling back to a previously installed version.

Here are the steps:

Update Your Device Driver:

  • Open the Device Manager by pressing the Windows key + X and selecting Device Manager from the menu.
  • Expand the category of the device driver you want to update (e.g., Display adapters for graphics card driver).
  • Right-click on the device driver and select “Update driver.”
  • Choose the option to automatically search for updated driver software.
  • Wait for Windows to search and install any available updates for your device driver.

Roll Back Your Driver to the Previously Installed Version:

  • Open the Device Manager as mentioned earlier.
  • Expand the category of the device driver you want to roll back.
  • Right-click on the device driver and select “Properties.”
  • Go to the “Driver” tab and click on “Roll Back Driver.”
  • Follow any on-screen instructions to complete the rollback process.

11. Run System Restore Point

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Click on the Start menu and search for “System Restore”.
  2. Select “Create a restore point” from the results.
  3. In the System Properties window, click on the “System Restore” button.
  4. A new window will open, showing a list of available restore points. Choose a restore point that was created before you encountered the error.
  5. Click on “Next” and then “Finish” to start the system restore process.
  6. Your computer will restart and begin restoring your system to the selected restore point.
  7. Once the restoration is complete, check if the “Failed to Load steamui.dll” error is resolved when launching Steam.

12. Re-register the Steamui. dll File

To re-register the Steamui.dll file, follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + R on your keyboard to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “cmd” and press Enter to open the Command Prompt.
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enterregsvr32 steamui.dll
  4. You should see a message confirming that the registration was successful.
  5. Close the Command Prompt window and restart Steam.

13. Check Your Memory

Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Open the Start menu on your Windows computer.
  2. Type “Windows Memory Diagnostic” in the search bar and select the corresponding result.
  3. Click on “Restart now and check for problems” to start the memory diagnostic process.
  4. Your computer will restart and begin scanning your memory for any errors.
  5. Once the scan is complete, your computer will automatically restart again.
  6. After restarting, open the File Explorer by pressing Win + E on your keyboard.
  7. In the left-hand sidebar, right-click on “This PC” and select “Properties.”
  8. In the System window that opens, click on “Advanced system settings” on the left-hand side.
  9. Under the Performance section, click on “Settings.”
  10. In the Performance Options window, go to the Advanced tab.
  11. Click on “Change” under Virtual Memory.
  12. Make sure that “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” is selected.
  13. If it’s not selected, checkmark it and click on OK to save the changes.
  14. Restart your computer once again.

14. Allow Steam Through Windows Firewall

To fix this issue, you need to allow Steam through the Windows Defender Firewall.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the Windows Defender Security Center on your PC.
  2. Click on “Firewall & network protection” in the left – hand menu.
  3. Under “Firewall & network protection settings,” click on “Allow an app through firewall.”
  4. A list of allowed apps will appear. Click on the “Change settings” button at the top right.
  5. Scroll down until you find “Steam” in the list of apps.
  6. Make sure that both Private and Public are checked for Steam.
  7. If Steam is not listed, click on the “Allow another app…” button at the bottom.
  8. Locate and select the Steam.exe file from your Steam directory (usually located at C: \Program Files (x86)\Steam).
  9. Click on “Add” to add it to the list of allowed apps.
  10. Check both private and public checkboxes for Steam.
  11. Click on OK to save your changes.

15. Run Steam As Administrator

his will grant the necessary permissions for Steam to function properly on your Windows system. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Right – click on the Steam shortcut or executable file.
  2. Choose the “Run as administrator” option from the context menu.


1. What should I do if none of the troubleshooting steps resolve the issue?

If none of the troubleshooting steps resolve the “failed to load steamui.dll” error, consider reaching out for technical support from Steam’s customer service team. They may be able to provide more specific guidance based on your situation and help you resolve any underlying issues causing this error message.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...